Kerala Police Act Amendment ordinance ‘loosely drafted’, says Shashi Tharoor


Team Udayavani, Nov 22, 2020, 6:15 PM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: Opposition parties including the Congress leaders have criticised the Police Act amendment ordinance introduced by Kerala government while alleging that the amendment would give more power to the police and also curtail the freedom of the press

Rejecting the charges, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday clarified that the new amendment to the Kerala Police Act will not be used against freedom of speech or impartial media activity in any way.

On Saturday, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan signed the Kerala Police Act Amendment ordinance, envisaged by the Left government in the state to prevent cyber attacks against women and children.

The addition of Section 118-A in the Act stipulates either imprisonment for up to five years or a fine of up to Rs 10,000 or both to those who produce, publish or disseminate content through any means of communication with an intention to intimidate, insult or defame any person through social media.

Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor opined that the ordinance was loosely drafted and could be used against political opponents, journalists and critics.
“It must be revised to narrow its application to flagrant cases of abuse & threats only,” Tharoor said.

Taking to Twitter, senior advocate Prashant Bhushan said “Kerala has amended the Kerala Police Act by ordinance that provides jail term for any social media or cyber post that is deemed “offensive” or threatening. This is draconian & bound to be abused to silence dissent. Similar Sec 66A of the IT Act was struck down.”

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